An 80-year-old Greek man has been arrested for allegedly attempting to traffic a 15-year-old girl at a bus terminal in Cebu City.
Cebu South Bus Terminal operations manager Jonathan Tumulak said today (Friday, May 3) that the Greek man and a Filipina aged 60 were arrested at the terminal last Tuesday.
He said the female suspect arrived at the terminal aboard a bus from Dumaguete with the teenage girl. When they arrived, it is alleged that a CCTV camera caught the unnamed suspect handing over cash to the woman.
Having apparently witnessed the transaction as it happened, police and ‘Civil Security Unit’ officers immediately intervened.
They then found that the woman and the child were not related, putting them in contravention of RA 7610. Under this law, the presence of minors in the company of an older, unrelated, person is considered prima facie evidence of trafficking and abuse.
The man said that he was just waiting for the woman and girl to arrive as he had promised to pay for the girl’s school expenses in exchange for her working as a house help for him.
The girl is now in the protective custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Previous false charges
It is not the first time that a foreigner using the South Cebu Bus Terminal has been accused of trafficking for travelling with underage girls.
In December 2017, we reported on the case of Belgian man Koen Van Den Broek.
He was in the company of a 13-year-old girl, her nine-year-old brother, a three-year-old girl and her four-year-old brother and two aunts aged 18 and 19.
The group were about to depart for a family vacation in Moalboal, and were due to be joined by a mother of some of the children en route.
After being spotted by personnel of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, he was detained.
Relatives of the children reached out to the authorities, and also to this website, insisting on Mr Van Den Broek’s innocence.
Eventually, as we exclusively reported in July last year, the case against him was entirely dismissed.